Measurement: The Other ’M’ Word – Part 2
With your goals and patient lifetime value (LTV) in-hand, you’re ready to add some meat to your strategy in the form of marketing tactics. (Not sure about your goals and wondering what LTV is? Review part 1.)
This is where the rubber meets the road as they say, and there are more possibilities than options at Starbucks. There’s search engine optimization (SEO), social media (Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to name a few), pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, and of course, everything that goes into ensuring your website is designed for conversion (turning online visitors into your new patients). It can be overwhelming but don’t lose sight of the outcome you’re aiming to achieve. If you don’t know where you’re going, it’s unlikely you’ll ever get there.
Your goal will determine what you measure and which metrics make sense. For example, if your goal is to bring in X number of new patients per month, you need to first understand the activities and touchpoints that lead to a new patient and measure their effectiveness. Keep in mind that there is more than one metric for every marketing goal, so it’s important to look at the complete picture.
Your practice website is the cornerstone of your online presence, which makes it a metrics hub and a great place to start. While it is interesting to track the number of visitors your website gets, there are more telling measurements that better indicate its performance.
Additional website analytics that can help to fill in the blanks include:
• Average session duration or time on site – This is the average length of time a user spends on your site, or on a specific page. This stat can reveal a lot about how visitors are engaging with your website. For example, if the average visitor spends fifteen minutes on your website, and twelve of those minutes are on a page dedicated to hygiene tips, that’s a good indicator that your audience is interested in that topic. Use this information to your advantage by writing a blog and/or social media posts that provide additional tips and facts.
• Traffic sources – This information details where visitors are coming from and is vital to understanding how your overall marketing efforts are faring. Are visitors coming directly from your Facebook page? How about specific pay-per-click (PPC) advertisements versus direct traffic (i.e. when a visitor types your web address directly into the search bar)? Are visitors coming from review sites, such as Yelp? Knowing which sources generate the most site visitors is critical to gauging which online marketing efforts are working, and which need to be revisited.
• Bounce rate – This refers to a single-page session on your website (i.e. the number of visitors who arrive and then immediately leave a page). Bounce rate can be one of the most revealing website statistics and is a great user experience indicator. For example, 1,500 visitors at first glance might appear to be great, but if a deeper look uncovers a 99% bounce rate chances are you have a usability issue on your hands. In today’s fast-paced culture, people don’t give poor websites a second look. So, if your bounce rate shows a high percentage of visitors are leaving after spending little or no time on a page, ensure that it’s designed to provide the best user experience possible.
Online marketing is like a game of Jenga – each piece impacts another, and it’s virtually impossible to alter one component in isolation. If it hasn’t occurred to you yet, this is also where an online dental marketing provider can be invaluable.